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A Different Immigration Mess

The debate in Australia over who gets in.

Sep 9, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 01 • By FRED BARNES
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The chief fear about Muslims is that they won’t assimilate and instead will live in the kind of insular neighborhoods where, in other countries, Islamic extremism has flourished. The other worry is welfare. Even after five years in Australia, Muslim households have a high rate of reliance on government support.

Tony Abbott, the Liberal party leader who’s likely to become prime minister after the September 7 election, plans to revive Howard’s Pacific Solution. Indeed, he sounds like Howard. “We run this country and we decide who comes here,” he said. “If you want to stop the boats, you’ve got to change the government, and if you can’t stop the boats, you’re not capable of governing this country.”

As prime minister, Abbott says he “will immediately give new orders to the Navy to tackle illegal boat arrivals and ‘turn back’ the boats where it is safe to do so.” Otherwise, refugees will be steered to offshore processing areas from which transit to Australia is unavailable. Also, TPVs will be issued a work requirement for welfare and no chance of family reunion. And Abbott vows to provide $67 million for joint operations with Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and Malaysia “to disrupt people smuggling through international deployment of specialist Australian Federal Police Officers.”

“It is my commitment to make a difference from day one,” Abbott told a radio interviewer. It’s quite an agenda. And it’s bound to prompt protests from the refugee rights crowd, Amnesty International, and left-wing groups. But Abbott shouldn’t be fazed. We await the results.

Fred Barnes is an executive editor at The Weekly Standard.

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